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amaranth for that worthy matron, if she exert her authority; and, as their obedience is more or less entire, she has also garlands of inferior lustre to recom. pense the ladies in her train.
Your own sagacity,' added be, will supply the place of farther in. structions ;' and then vanished in an instant. The space before ine, as it appeared, was crossed by four successive rivers. Over these were thrown as many bridges, and beyond each of these streams the ground seemed to vary it's degree of lustre, as much as if it had lain under a different climate. On the side of each of these rivers appeared, as I thought, a receptacle for travelers; so that the journey seemed to be portioned into four distinct stages. It is possible that these were meant to represent the periods of a man's life; which may be distinguished by the names of infancy, youth, manhood, and old age. During the first stage, our travelers proceeded without much disturbance. Their excursions were of no greater extent than to crop a primrose, or a daisy, that grew on the way-side: and in these their governess indulged them. She gave them but few checks, and they afforded her but little occasion. But when they arrived at the second period, the case then was greatly altered. The young ladies grew visibly enamoured of the beauties on each side; and the governess began to feel a consciousness of her duty to restrain them. They petitioned clamourously to make one short excursion, and met with a decent refusal. One of them that visibly shewed herself the greatest vixen and romp * amongst them, had a thousand arts and stratagems to circumvent her well-meaning gov
erness. I must here mention, what I remarked afterwards, that some of the pupils felt greater attractions in one stage; and some in another. And the scene before them being well variegated with mossy banks and purling streams, frisking lambs and piping shepherds; inspired a longing that was inexpressible, to one that seemed of an amorous complexion. She requested to make a short digression; pointed to the band of shepherds dancing; and, as I observe ed, presented a glass, through which the matron might distinctly view them. The governess applied the glass, and it was wonderful to trace the change it effected. She, who, before had with inuch constancy opposed the prayers of her petitioner, now began to lean towards her demands; and, as if she herself were not quite indifferent to the scene of pleasure she had beheld, grew remiss in her discipline; softened the language of dissent; and, with a gentle reprimand suffered her pupil to elope. After this, however, she winked her eyes; that she might not at Jeast bear testimony to the step she did not approve. When the lady had gratified her curiosity, she returned for the present; but with an appetite more inflamed, and more impatient to repeat her frolic. The governess appeared uneasy, and to repent of her own compliance; and reason good she had ; considering the confidence it gave her pupil, and the weight it took from her own authority. They were not passed far from the second stage of their journey, ere they all determined to rebel, and submit to the tyranny of their leader no longer. Another now took the lead; and seizing an embroidered handkerchief, completely hoodwinked the directress. All now was tumult, anarchy, disagreement, and con
fusion. They led their guide along, blindfold, not without proposals of downright murder. They soon lost sight of the regular path, and strode along with amazing rapidity. I should, however, except some few,* who, being of a complexion naturally languid, and thus deprived of their protectress, had neither constancy to keep the road, nor spirit enough to stray far from it. These found the utmost of their inclinations gratified, in treasuring up shells from the banks of the river, scooping fossils from the rocks, or preserving plants that grew in the valley: A moth or butterfly afforded them a chace, and a grub or beetle was a suitable companion. But to return to the vagabonds. The lady that performed the feat of blinding her governess, for a time bore the chief rule; and held the rest in a state of servitude.t She seemed to be, indeed, formed for that power and grandeur, which was her delight; being of a stature remarkably tall, with an air of dignity in her counte
Not but others would sometimes insist on some temporary gratification. As they shaped their way to a great city, one would loll and loiter upon a bed of roses; another would join the dance of shepherds, and sometimes retire with onell into the covert. A third § would not move a step farther, till she had gathered some ore that was washed froin the mountains. When they entered the city, their dissipation was yet more observable. Ove** intoxicated herself with cordials; another it went in quest of lace and equipage. The lady,fi however, at this time the most enterprising, and who (as I mentioned before) had given such a turn to their affairs, discov* The virtuoso-passion.
+ Ambition. $ Indolence. Il Gallantry • Avarice.
** Ebriety. ++ Pride and Vanity.
ered a strange fondness herself for lawn and ermine, embroidered stars, and golden collars. However difficult it seemed to reach them, or how little necessary soever they seemed to happiness, these alone engaged her attention; and to these alone her hopes aspired. Nay she went so far, as, in failure of these, to resolve on misery and wilful wretchedness. She at length succeeded, at least so far as to find how little they enhanced her happiness; and her former compeers, having ruined their constitutions, were once again desirous to have their queen reign over them. In short, their loyalty regained the as cendant; insomuch, that with one consent they removed the bandage from her eyes, and vowed to obey her future directions. She promised to secure them all the happiness that was consistent with their present state'; and advised them all to follow her towards the path they had forsaken. Our travelers, in a little time after this, passed over the bridge that introduced them to their closing stage. The subjects, very orderly, repentant, and demissive; the governess, more rigid and imperious than ever. The former, withered, decripid, languishing; the latter in greater vigour, and more beautiful than before. Time appeared to produce in her a very opposite effect, to that it wrought in her companions. She seemed, indeed, no more that easy ductile creature, insulted and borne away by the whims of her companions. She appeared more judicious in the commands she gave, and more rigorous in the execution, In short, both her own activity, and the supine lethargy of those whom she conducted, united to make way for her unlimited authority. Now, indeed, a more limited rule might have secured obedience, and maintained a regularity. The ladies were but little struck with the glare of objects on each side the way. One alone I must except, whom I beheld look wishfully, with a retorted eye, towards the golden ore washed down by the torrents. The governess represented, in the strongest terms, that these materials could not be imported into the realms they were about to enter. That, were this even the case, they could be there of no importance. However, she had not extirpated the bias of this craving dame, when they approached the temple to which I formerly alluded. The temple stood upon a lofty hill, half encircled with trees of neverfading verdure. Between the milk-white columns (which were of the Doric order, the bases gilt, as also the capitals) a blaze of glory issued, of such superior lustre, that none beside the governess was able to approach it. She, indeed, with a dejected countenance drew near unto the goddess; who gently waved her hand in the way of salutation. The matron seemed less dazzled, than delighted with her excessive beauty. She accosted her with reverence, and with much diffidence began to mention their pretension to her favour. • She must own she had been too remiss in the beginning of her government; she hoped it would be attributed to inexperience in the subtile wiles of her fellow-travelers. She flattered herself, that her severity towards the conclusion of her journey might, in some sort, makeatonement for her misbehaviour in the beginning. Lastly, that she sometimes found it impossible to hear the dictates of the goddess amid the clamours of her pupils, and the din of their persuasions.'